Kings Can Fly

by Firedroid

Archive for the ‘Concept art’ Category

Character Design

Posted by mariecke On August - 3 - 2012

Our game has a good solid base: inviting scenery, difficult and engaging puzzles, a great atmosphere and a polished GUI. But it still needed that emotional trigger, an element players can relate to and easily recognize. To this end, we crafted a storyline and created two main characters for Kings Can Fly.

Despite the name suggesting a king, we started out with a female protagonist, captain of the airships and navigator of the Air Kingdom. Keywords for the character were adventurer, cartographer, spunky, tough, happy.

First round of concept sketches for the main protagonist.

Here basic shapes and outfits were tried to fit the character into the role of navigator (as evidenced by the rulers, maps, goggles), as well as fit her/him with appropriate attire – a 1890′s look with a touch of steam punk.

The small sketch of the girl in the top-center was favoured most, so she was fleshed out into the right hand character. The period clothing worked well in general, so the next round focused on the outfit.

Second round of concept sketches, focusing on the outfit.

On the bottom you can see the female version of the character from the first sketches, because we liked the expression, but wanted to keep a female character. The outfits show vests, jackets and gloves to make the char seem adventurous, while the big coats tend to lend authority. The goggles are present everywhere, hinting at air travel.

In the end we picked the outfit third from the left, loving the big black coat and the high collar along with sturdy, big boots.

Final outfit, sketch to determine style.

 Colour matching the outfit.

To pick fitting colours, the character was placed in the general game setting. The final colours (far right) were quickly chosen.

Finalized sketch to experiment with a more realistic style.

The original story and setting were fairly serious, dealing with a world that inhabited complex characters who schemed and plotted. However, this didn’t fit the general upbeat theme of the levels and it wasn’t a style we were keen on pursuing. Instead we opted for cheerful, cartoony characters with over-the-top expressions and a stylized look.

Now that we had a firm grasp on where we wanted to go with the characters, fleshing out the king was much easier and concepting was a lot faster. We wanted an iconic figure, an archetypical king with recognizable facets like bushy, white facial hair and a big ermine mantle. Keywords for the king were short, comic relief, easily bored and easily entertained, older, royal.

Concept sketches for the king character.

A mere five sketches later, we went for king number four; we couldn’t resist his huge mustache and adorable pot-belly.

King colour schemes.

We opted for a blue-red king, with shiny golden footies. Then there was the matter of adapting the captain character to fit the same style the king was drawn in, which was quickly done. We ended up with a bright, happy team of characters who will guide our players through the game, giving hints, explaining the rules and responding to player actions.


Blockade and Trigger

Posted by Rachel On November - 30 - 2011

We made some sketches for blockades but spikes seemed like the best choice since most player refer to this as ‘danger!’.

The harder part was designing the trigger/switch which lets the player pass the spikes. We’ve been experimenting with a lot of ideas…

After a lot of ideas we realized that the we needed a trigger that was accessible from four sides, not just two like most of the design were. It would make making levels incredibly hard if a switch could only be activated when a player enters that tile from the North or South.

The trigger needed to be flat so that ships can fly over it. So we came up with a simple button shape. Sometimes simple is the best way to go.

Design: The Brig

Posted by Rachel On May - 30 - 2011

In our tech demo we wanted to use a bit more advanced means of transportation than just a crate tied to a balloon. We designed this ship, The Brig, to be the impressive and iconic ship for our game.

Instead of one big balloon like a zeppelin, we designed two separate balloons held together by fabric and ropes. This gives the game a more unique look than using a standard zeppelin shape.

Some rough sketches of how the balloons attach to the hull of the ship:

Villages on the mountains

Posted by Rachel On May - 23 - 2011

The sketches above are the very first ideas we had for cities/villages on mountain tops. However, we decided they were bit too serious and realistic for our setting and that the scale was far too small. Our airships need to feel huge and impressive, and the small houses were dwarfing the effect.

Next we came up with this design:

It still needed to be bigger!

The mood that enormous building set wasn’t deemed appropriate, so we discarded them and redesigned the villages to be more practical.

The houses are built on platforms sticking out of the mountains. This has a lot of advantages in 3D since we can literally stick the platform and buildings into the mountain mesh. We don’t have to model villages that are customized to specific mountains.

Designing Mountains

Posted by Rachel On May - 15 - 2011

Here are some sketches for the mountains in our game. It didn’t take long before we came to the conclusion that making a lot of sketches is rather useless. We just needed to try to make the mountains as cheap as possible (polygon wise) in 3D.

Game concept sketches

Posted by Rachel On May - 4 - 2011

These are some quick visualizations for the setting of the game. Trying out shapes and colours.

Fan Design

Posted by Rachel On April - 25 - 2011

A first simple sketch for a fan.
You can see the temporary donkey-powered engine, which might be replaced by robotic hamsters if we get the funding.
On a serious note, we’re also thinking about the possibility to be able to upgrade the blades of a fan. The player starts with a wooden frame with fabric between, then later on in the game you can unlock fans with wooden blades and wooden blades with an iron frame. These upgrades produce a more powerful wind.

Designing ships

Posted by Rachel On April - 22 - 2011

There are many tactics for ‘visual’ brainstorming, and this is one of them. Drawing silhouettes of an object gives you an impression of a shape.

This allows you to work a lot faster than normal sketching because a silhouette doesn’t need any details and is focused on just the shape. I thought this was a great technique for the designing of the airships in the projects early phase.

Study: mountains

Posted by Rachel On April - 20 - 2011

Mountains and mountain peaks play a big part in our game world and since mountains aren’t the most easy objects to paint, I’ve made some sketches to get a feeling for the texture and structure of mountains. Mountains on different continents have different shapes, so we still have to decide what kind of shape we prefer for our world.